New fanfiction! Yaaaay!
I hope you'll like it, just as I liked writing and imagining it. I decided to write about Rollo's daughter because daughters are important and the show tends to ignore that (Siggy, Angrboda, Gyda ...etc). And because I am fascinated by her story and legacy. This is a fiction, so, of course, it won't be totally historically accurate. But I tried my best giving it authenticity. I hope you'll like this one. Don't forget to leave a review ;)
The convoy stopped. They were only a few miles away but they could clearly see the walls of Paris. The young man in front asked a silent question to the young lady following him with his green eyes to which she answered with a quick nodd. He spurred his horse on and all his suite followed. The young woman quickly came to his height and smiled mischieviously. His mouth widened to reveal his white teeths. It felt good to feel the wind in his hair. Though it was not the same violent wind he was used to in Normannia. His neighbour's hair slowly moved with grace revealing a sweet flowery fragrance. Her green eyes were shining with excitement.
They've only been to Paris once : when they were only two young childs. They went to introduce themselves to the yet king of Frankia : their grandfather. An idea of their mother. And now, this was another idea of their mother that led them to the walls of Paris again. Officially, they were here to present their respects to the new king -their uncle- in behalf of their father, the great Rollo, first duke of Normannia. But Guillaume was burdened with a secret mission his mother gave him. Secret, he wasn't able to hide from his sister as she discovered the truth a day earlier at their camp. There was no doubt of it : she knew how to gain informations. Yet, she smiled at him, excited by the idea of being at the court of Frankia. Guillaume smiled back at his little sister, happy to witness her that joyful.
They finally arrived in front of the main entrance to the city. The one the great army of their uncle, Ragnar Lothbrok, once broke through. It was an impressive scene for the citizen of Paris to witness. All respectfully stepped away from their path at the sight of their standard. All could clearly recognize the two lions of the young duchy of Normannia. The heir of the current duke, Guillaume was leading the way, followed by his sister, Geirlaug. Both rode large and muscular horses. Theirs were the most imposing. The two children of the duke were followed by some of their knights, their servants and a cart full of chests. All containing precious fabrics and gold. Never had the inhabitants of Paris seen such a prestigious convoy.
They handed their horses to the stable boys of the palace and Guillaume gave his orders to the servants and the knights to prepare their installation. He also gave them money for their hard work, suggesting they all go to drink a few glass of ale. All seemed to be happy with it. Guillaume always tried to treat his men right. A habit he inherited from his father.
- Are you sure the king knows we are here, Geirlaug asked slightly worried.
- I sent an emissary early this morning. Don't worry, he knows we're here, Guillaume said fixing his belt. How do I look, he asked to her turning on himself.
- Disgusting, as always my dear brother, she teased him.
Guillaume gave her an amused smile. It was their game: constantly mocking each other. Though Geirlaug was better at this game. She was born with the fire of their mother and the sass of their father. She straightened her dress, adjusted her jewels and her hair and both entered the palace.
The scenery was grandiose. All walls were covered with richly embroidered tapestries, every corner of the rooms and the hallways had precious tables with precious objects on it. The floor itself was cleaner than any other castle floors they ever saw. The air was fresh, yet warm enough for them to take off their cloaks. All the palace smelled flowers and exotic fragrances imported from the farthest lands of the world. But the architecture of the palace was the one thing that made all of it the more impressive. The ceiling was high enough for a second floor. All the walls were made of the fairest stone and pillars made of the most beautiful marble were supporting the ceiling. The windows gave to the decor all the light it needed to shine. Even the darkest corner of the hallway was well lit. All of that enchanted pictures made the young duchess dizzy. Guillaume, him was too focused on what to say to the new emperor to notice where they were.
They finally arrived in front of an enormous door made of the most precious wood. Guillaume assumed that this was the door his father entered by to salute his mother the first time they met face to face. He told them that story a lot. As if it was the most romantic gesture she had toward him. But every time he told them that story, him and his siter bursted out of laughter. This time, it was their turn to enter that door. With quite the same goals. He glanced at her sister and both nodded as a sign of understanding. The guards opened the door and the two children of the duke entered the throne room.
- The duke and the duchess of Normannia, a page announced.
All sight immediately went on them. They were imposing. Both taller than any of the people in the room, heads held high and richly dressed. Guillaume was the tallest. His dark hair were cut the frank way, though maybe shorter, his nose was straight, his mouth full, his jaw sharp, his eyebrows straight and bushy which highlighted his eyes made of a dark shade of green. His body sure could make some of the ladies in the room faint as he was as muscular as his father but slightly less wild. He was wearing a red tunic embroided with golden thread and his cape was made of the same material. Truly, the duke was handsome.
But the creature walking beside him was the most beautiful between the two of them. She was tall, just like her brother, but she was fairer, yet, wilder. Her hair were combed in a single braid, with some locks escaping from it. It wasn't too elaborate, but it was worthy of her northern legacy. Her eyebrows were as thick as her brother, yet they had a graceful shape. The color of her eyes was fairer than her brother's but they showed nothing but joy and mischief. She had a little nose and her lips were as full as her brother's. She was thin, yet muscular. And her burgundy dress was made of the most beautiful velvet. Her neck was adorned with a beautiful necklace made of gold. She was wild, but at the same time, she was delicate.
All stepped back in admiration. They dominated all the court by their height and their status. Guillaume stepped forward and kneeled before his uncle. Geirlaug did likewise, showing the most graceful bow. When he straightened up, the king spoke.
- Welcome. I bid you both welcome here. I am very pleased to see you again nephew. It sure has been ages since we last seen each other.
- Indeed my king. I came here in behalf of my father to pleadge alliegance to you and your children.
- It is kind of you to travel such a distance just to pay your respects. I appreciate that.
- My mother also entrusted me a letter for you.
- My page will take it.
Guillaume gave the precious missive to the young man coming to get it with hesitation. The king read it without any consideration for all the court watching the scene. When he finished, a large smile appeared on his lips. He put the letter back on his table and stood up, his arm wide opened.
- Nephew! How come you didn't tell me directly about this delicious news? I am glad your mother sent you both here. Please, be my guests and stay in Paris as long as you want. I'll have room prepared for you and your sister. Well, I guess you won't need to share the same room for too long, isn't it?
- Yes, my king, Guillaume replied with a forced smile.
When they finished their introduction, they got out of the throne room to go and enjoy the quiet of their apartments. The less person the better they felt.
Once everything was unpacked and the ducal brother and sister installed, Geirlaug finally quit her ladylike attitude. She casually sat on her bed located by the window of their big bed chambers, not caring wether or not she showed her legs.
- Finally some peace, she exclaimed. I can't believe how noisy the court is! All these noble ladies, don't you think they are a little bit too much? I mean, if it were me, I wouldn't wear that much silk and gold. They looks like these precious statues. They barely looks alive.
- It seems I was mistaken, Guillaume said smiling.
- About what?
- I thought you were thrilled to live at the court.
- I am, she objected standing up. It is just that I thought it would be different.
- It is Geirlaug. Well, at least it is different than Normannia.
- On that I totally agree. The air is way more fresh in Normannia, and the landscape are more impressive. Even if, I must say, the castle and the walls of Paris are amazing. But it is so overwhelming in here. I feel like I'm gasping for air every step I make.
- And yet, you did quite an impression in the throne room earlier, her brother smiled to her.
- Are you kidding? I am pretty sure you are the one who made the best impression, she smiled back teasing him. I mean, look at you, she pointed him with her hands. Tall, handsome, rich, and a duke! Oh my, you will attract so much ladies at the court. Too bad you're not the one who have to find a spouse, she teased him.
- You think you are so funny...
- Am I not, she asked faking surprise.
- Funny, no. Sassy? A lot!
- I'll take that as a compliment dear brother!
- One day, I'll make you regret that insolent tongue, you know that right?
- When northmen will wear horn helmets brother. Which means, never!
- I can arrange that with father, Guillaume replied teasingly.
- You know he has too much good taste to do that, she sighed amused.
- Guillaume rolled his eyes grinning.
- You know him too well!
Geirlaug laughed back at him and went to seek her in-progress tapestry. This was the only activity she could do to get rid of her boredom. Guillaume, him, was quietly reading by the fireplace. Both were exhausted by all the fuss of the court and their journey. The young duke's thoughts immediately rushed to Sprota, the beautiful Sprota. With her broken nose, her long bonde hair and her green eyes, she was the fairest lady of the duchy. Guillaume fell for her the moment he saw her in the streets of Rouen. She was not of poor condition. She was his father's most trusted chieftain's daughter. Rich enough to be married to a duke. He remembered he thought he had a holy vision when he noticed her by the well. How he fell for her so deeply even God couldn't go and save his soul. How her hair smelled like the sea. How soft was her skin. How full were her lips, and how generous were her hips.
- Are you going to write to her, Geirlaug asked all of sudden.
- What? Who, her brother replied genuinely surprised.
- What do you mean, who ? Sprota obviously!
- H... How did you...
- I read it on your face, she calmly said. It was obvious.
Guillaume smiled to himself. His sister knew him too well. She always figured out people, even him. She was the best at discovering information.
- Yeah. Yes I will write to her.
- You do love her, she smiled at him. You are lucky to be in love.
She suddenly turned her head back at her tapestry all gloomy.
- You are lucky you can marry someone you love. You were born a man, you can do whatever you please. I do not have that luck. I have to wed someone a father or you choose for me. It'll be a loveless marriage.
- It's okay. I know you'll make the right choice. I trust you.
It hurt Guillaume to see her sister like that. She was so joyful normally. Never had she complained about being a woman. Usually she liked to prove that she was as strong as their father, which made their mother angry, but when it came to love, she was as fragile as a injured bird.
- Besides, if mother eventually fell for father after their arranged marriage, that means there is still hope for me, she nervously laughed.
Guillaume laughed to himself. His father often told them the story of how he met their mother. Geirlaug used to say it was romantic while Guillaume made fun of his father about how ridiculous he was. Of course, his attitude toward love changed over the time. When he hit puberty, he finally understood what it implied to be in love and to want to seduce women. For Geirlaug it was different. She used to dream about princes and knights in shiny armour when she was young, wanting nothing less than to be loved unconditionally. But when their mother taught her the life of a duke's daughter, she became more quiet on the subject. Many times she told her brother she felt trapped. And her condition wasn't going to be better anytime soon.
- I don't want to be a man's property, she said fiercely. I want to be his equal.
Guillaume smiled proudly. She really took after their father.
- Well, I guess I will have a better idea of who to choose tomorrow at breakfast.
- I suppose. Just don't choose someone smaller than me. Or too precious. I don't like these kind of men. I prefer them with muscles and beard.
- Like northmen you mean, Guillaume asked mischieviously. Mother would not appreciate your choices my dear sister.
- Well mother married one of them, so who is she to judge?
- Any other things you hate on men?
- Yes. I don't want a womanizer. I want someone who is quiet. Not a smart one, but nor an idiot. He needs to be attractive, but not too much and please don't pick an insanely rich man.
- You're making this horribly difficult.
- I thought you liked challenges, she replied faking innocence.
- I do. But this... this is an impossible quest.
His sister mischieviously smiled at him. She truly loved to torture her big brother. After all, that was what little sisters were born to do. She turned back to the window and looked at the view. They could see the Seine clearly, the sun illuminating the water and the forest they had to crossed to get in the city. Geirlaug wondered why they didn't come by boat.
She always loved sailing and her father had the best boats of all the kingdom. She loved the speed, the feel of the wind on her cheeks, her nose turned red because of the cold air of the wild sea, the sound of the waves against the skiff of the longboats. She loved when her hair smelled like the sea, feeling the water wet her body. She loved speed so much she often came back from these trips tired and dizzy. Sailing was her most favourite activity. Many times, her mother scolded her. Apparently that was not an activity fitted for a lady, and even less for the daughter of a duke and a princess. Here, in that big city, there was nothing like these feelings. The Seine was to calm, the air wasn't fresh enough and she could hear the sound of Paris from her window. She missed Normannia, and more importantly, she missed her father. At least he understood her and her need of freedom. At least he always considered her as an equal. She wondered if he was aware of the mission her mother gave to Guillaume. She wondered if he betrayed her.